Who should be vaccinated when and how in Austria

The Ministry of Health expects vaccination to start in January. Hundreds of thousands of cans are expected to be in the country by early 2021.

The situation is serious, very serious. “The pandemic numbers are still at a dramatically high level,” said Rudolf Anschober on Monday. So there was really no reason to be cheerful. And yet there was that moment when the Minister of Health almost had to smile – namely when he came up with the vaccination strategy.

“A few months ago I was criticized very heavily for making a very specific decision when I asked when the vaccination was due and saying that we can count on it in the first quarter of 2021.” This hope of his has not just been raised approved. With a little luck, you could even move the forecast forward. Because now it actually looks as if the vaccinations could not start at the end of the first quarter, in March, but at the beginning of the year.

“We’ll have a couple of 100,000 cans in the course of January,” said Anschober. And that is actually a sensation compared to the rather optimistic forecasts.

Phased plan

How is who vaccinated and when? Nothing has changed in the basic step-by-step plan. Since not all Austrians can be vaccinated at the same time or not all vaccination doses are in the country at the beginning of January, in line with the recommendations of the EU, people who are most likely to have a serious or fatal outcome will most likely start with those people.

“Exposed” people should follow “vulnerable groups”: elderly carers, doctors, nurses etc. – in abstract terms, these are people who work with high-risk patients or who have a higher risk of infection due to their job or who have serious effects in their job for the general public.

In a third step, the rest of the population follows.

The mentioned order assumes that the approved vaccines are actually suitable for the named patient groups. But there is – for now – no reason for doubt in this regard.

It is essential that the vaccination is always voluntary and free of charge. And it is also important that the vaccinations are offered as regionally as possible, i.e. in vaccination centers, in the individual federal states and, ideally, in larger companies.

For Health Minister Anschober, vaccination is definitely a successful European project. Without Europe’s market power, Austria would hardly have received the promised doses in global competition, he says. As things stand, there will be enough vaccine for everyone in Austria. Yes, it could even happen that Austria gets so many cans that it can give excess cans to countries that were less happy with the negotiations. “In this case sharing would be something very positive.” Christian Böhmer


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